Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Research

What is it'

According to the Joint Theater Trauma System, 66 percent of the warfighters wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom are from blast injury; and 41 percent of the warfighters exposed to a blast show evidence of a traumatic brain injury.

Mild TBI is currently defined by the event and through self-report of symptoms. The working definition is any post-event exposure alteration of mental state at the time of injury, any loss of consciousness lasting 30 minutes or less, or post-traumatic amnesia lasting less than 24 hours. There is agreement that this definition does not meet the needs for clinical assessment of brain injury.

What has the Army done'

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command hosted an International State-of-the-Science meeting to assess current state of knowledge on the existence and mechanisms of non impact, blast induced mTBI.

Participants were divided into workgroups to answer four pertinent questions about non-impact, blast induced mTBI.

(1) Is non-impact blast exposure associated with a physical mild traumatic brain injury'
(2) If the answer to question one is yes, is there substantial evidence to support one mechanism as the most plausible explanation for how non-impact blast exposure is associated with mTBI'
(3) What are three research gaps regarding the association between non-impact blast exposure and mTBI'
(4) What are generic recommendations regarding how researchers could standardize research methods to facilitate research synthesis of comparable studies'

Why is researching mTBI important to the Army'

It's important to understand the current state-of-the-science on this topic in order to help us make informed recommendations on Soldier protection, diagnostic and treatment strategies and to help us shape future research efforts that focus on filling knowledge gaps.

As a result of this meeting, we have a clearer understanding of the current state-of-the-science on the existence and mechanisms of non-impact, blast-induced mTBI. We understand the current research findings, and just as importantly, we understand the limitations of these findings. Our panel synthesized the information that was presented during the meeting to produce a list of specific knowledge gaps that will help us focus future research.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future'

The findings from this meeting will help to focus the current research projects, and to shape future research efforts in this area.


U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command

Blast Injury Research Program